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14 December 2012

Silverfleet Capital backs €65 million buyout of La Fée Maraboutée

Silverfleet Capital, the European private equity firm has acquired La Fée Maraboutée, a French wholesaler and retailer of women’s fashion for €65 million. The founder of the company and its joint-CEOs are also making a significant investment alongside Silverfleet Capital.

This transaction reaffirms Silverfleet Capital’s expertise in the retail sector, and interest in well established brands that have the potential to grow strongly both within Europe and worldwide. Examples of similar investments include Histoire d’Or (France) and Oasis (U.K.), both of which were successful exits, and current portfolio company OFFICE (U.K.).

Founded in 1996 in Roanne, which is located west of Lyon, by its founder and current head designer, Jean-Pierre Braillard, La Fée Maraboutée is a women’s fashion brand that is distributed by c. 1,700 French and international wholesale partners, as well as a store network of 90 outlets including 35 own and affiliate stores and 55 franchise stores (37 of which are in China). Approximately 35% of total sales are to customers based outside France.

La Fée Maraboutée’s high quality products, which have a contemporary style and strong individual identity, are sourced almost exclusively from Italy. Both French and international customers are also offered a broad range of products from which to make their selection. Brand sales are approximately €100 million at retail.

Since its foundation, the company has experienced a rapid development which accelerated in 2010 with the arrival of Jean-Christophe Astruc and Thierry Pérusat as joint-CEOs to work alongside the founder. Since 2010 the company’s sales have grown by c. 36%.

In the year ended December 2012 the company will have generated sales of €46 million, 80% of which will be from its wholesale business and 20% from its own retail organisation.

Georges Spitzer, a highly experienced French retail executive and former CEO of Givenchy and Du Pareil au même, will join the supervisory board as Chairman and he has also invested in the company.

Maïré Deslandes, joint head of Silverfleet Capital’s Paris office who led the investment alongside her colleague, Alexandre Lefebvre, said: “We are very impressed by the La Fée Maraboutée brand and collections which have an elegant, timeless appeal while also being both good quality and affordable, features which mean that the company has a strong and loyal customer base both in France and internationally.”

Alexandre Lefebvre, the other joint head of Silverfleet Capital’s Paris office, added: “The complementary skills of Jean-Pierre Braillard, Jean-Christophe Astruc, and Thierry Pérusat have allowed the company to grow strongly while maintaining the original concept of La Fée. We are convinced that this management team supported by Georges Spitzer as Chairman can achieve further success worldwide”.

Thierry Pérusat, CEO of La Fée S.A.S, said: “Since Jean-Christophe and I arrived at the company in 2010, we have been able to significantly develop the concept of La Fée Maraboutée created by Jean-Pierre. All three of us are now very much looking forward to continuing this success story together with Silverfleet Capital, who not only bring the resources of a strong European financial partner but also have a long and successful track record in the retail sector”.

Jean-Christophe Astruc, President of Féeric, the holding company established to acquire La Fée, said: “Silverfleet Capital immediately understood the La Fée Maraboutée business model and the foundations of its success, especially the well established relationships with suppliers and wholesale, affiliate and franchise partners. To help us achieve our development objectives the team at Silverfleet Capital also introduced us to Georges Spitzer who will join our advisory board and invest alongside us. As a former CEO of Givenchy and Du Pareil au même, Georges will bring to our company his vast experience of building international brands.”